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He had not reckoned with Heinrich Joerg. Indeed, he was not aware of Heinrich Joerg's existence. Yet fate was shortly to bring them together, with far-reaching results. Heinrich Joerg had left the Fatherland a good many years before with the prudent purpose of escaping military service. After various vicissitudes in the land of his adoption--which it would be extremely interesting to relate, but which must wait for a more favourable opportunity--he had secured a useful and not ill-recompensed situation as one of the staff of Reigelheimer's Restaurant. He was, in point of fact, a waiter, and he comes into the story at this point bearing a tray full of glasses, knives, forks, and pats of butter on little plates. He was setting a table for some new arrivals, and in order to obtain more scope for that task he had left the crowded aisle beyond the table and come round to the edge of the dancing-floor.

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He should not have come out on to the dancing-floor. In another moment he was admitting that himself. For just as he was lowering his tray and bending over the table in the pursuance of his professional duties, along came Bill at his customary high rate of speed, propelling his partner before him, and for the first time since he left home Heinrich was conscious of a regret that he had done so. There are worse things than military service!

It was the table that saved Bill. He clutched at it and it supported him. He was thus enabled to keep the Good Sport from falling and to assist Heinrich to rise from the morass of glasses, knives, and pats of butter in which he was wallowing. Then, the dance having been abandoned by mutual consent, he helped his now somewhat hysterical partner back to their table.

Remorse came upon Bill. He was sorry that he had danced; sorry that he had upset Heinrich; sorry that he had subjected the Good Sport's nervous system to such a strain; sorry that so much glass had been broken and so many pats of butter bruised beyond repair. But of one thing, even in that moment of bleak regrets, he was distinctly glad, and that was that all these things had taken place three thousand miles away from Claire Fenwick. He had not been appearing at his best, and he was glad that Claire had not seen him.

As he sat and smoked the remains of his cigar, while renewing his apologies and explanations to his partner and soothing the ruffled Nutty with well-chosen condolences, he wondered idly what Claire was doing at that moment.

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Claire at that moment, having been an astonished eye-witness of the whole performance, was resuming her seat at a table at the other end of the room.

There were two reasons why Lord Dawlish was unaware of Claire Fenwick's presence at Reigelheimer's Restaurant: Reigelheimer's is situated in a basement below a ten-storey building, and in order to prevent this edifice from falling into his patrons' soup the proprietor had been obliged to shore up his ceiling with massive pillars. One of these protruded itself between the table which Nutty had secured for his supper-party and the table at which Claire was sitting with her friend, Lady Wetherby, and her steamer acquaintance, Mr Dudley Pickering. That was why Bill had not seen Claire from where he sat; and the reason that he had not seen her when he left his seat and began to dance was that he was not one of your dancers who glance airily about them. When Bill danced he danced.

He would have been stunned with amazement if he had known that Claire was at Reigelheimer's that night. And yet it would have been remarkable, seeing that she was the guest of Lady Wetherby, if she had not been there. When you have travelled three thousand miles to enjoy the hospitality of a friend who does near-Greek dances at a popular restaurant, the least you can do is to go to the restaurant and watch her step. Claire had arrived with Polly Wetherby and Mr Dudley Pickering at about the time when Nutty, his gloom melting rapidly, was instructing the waiter to open the second bottle.

Of Claire's movements between the time when she secured her ticket at the steamship offices at Southampton and the moment when she entered Reigelheimer's Restaurant it is not necessary to give a detailed record. She had had the usual experiences of the ocean voyager. She had fed, read, and gone to bed. The only notable event in her trip had been her intimacy with Mr Dudley Pickering.

Dudley Pickering was a middle-aged Middle Westerner, who by thrift and industry had amassed a considerable fortune out of automobiles. Everybody spoke well of Dudley Pickering. The papers spoke well of him, Bradstreet spoke well of him, and he spoke well of himself. On board the liner he had poured the saga of his life into Claire's attentive ears, and there was a gentle sweetness in her manner which encouraged Mr Pickering mightily, for he had fallen in love with Claire on sight.

It would seem that a schoolgirl in these advanced days would know what to do when she found that a man worth millions was in love with her; yet there were factors in the situation which gave Claire pause. Lord Dawlish, of course, was one of them. She had not mentioned Lord Dawlish to Mr Pickering, and--doubtless lest the sight of it might pain him--she had abstained from wearing her engagement ring during the voyage. But she had not completely lost sight of the fact that she was engaged to Bill. Another thing that caused her to hesitate was the fact that Dudley Pickering, however wealthy, was a most colossal bore. As far as Claire could ascertain on their short acquaintance, he had but one subject of conversation--automobiles.

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To Claire an automobile was a shiny thing with padded seats, in which you rode if you were lucky enough to know somebody who owned one. She had no wish to go more deeply into the matter. Dudley Pickering's attitude towards automobiles, on the other hand, more nearly resembled that of a surgeon towards the human body. To him a car was something to dissect, something with an interior both interesting to explore and fascinating to talk about. Claire listened with a radiant display of interest, but she had her doubts as to whether any amount of money would make it worth while to undergo this sort of thing for life. She was still in this hesitant frame of mind when she entered Reigelheimer's Restaurant, and it perturbed her that she could not come to some definite decision on Mr Pickering, for those subtle signs which every woman can recognize and interpret told her that the latter, having paved the way by talking machinery for a week, was about to boil over and speak of higher things.

At the very next opportunity, she was certain, he intended to propose.

The presence of Lady Wetherby acted as a temporary check on the development of the situation, but after they had been seated at their table a short time the lights of the restaurant were suddenly lowered, a coloured limelight became manifest near the roof, and classical music made itself heard from the fiddles in the orchestra.

You could tell it was classical, because the banjo players were leaning back and chewing gum; and in New York restaurants only death or a classical speciality can stop banjoists.

There was a spatter of applause, and Lady Wetherby rose.

'This,' she explained to Claire, 'is where I do my stunt. Watch it. I invented the steps myself. Classical stuff. It's called the Dream of Psyche.'

It was difficult for one who knew her as Claire did to associate Polly Wetherby with anything classical. On the road, in England, when they had been fellow-members of the Number Two company of _The Heavenly Waltz_, Polly had been remarkable chiefly for a fund of humorous anecdote and a gift, amounting almost to genius, for doing battle with militant landladies. And renewing their intimacy after a hiatus of a little less than a year Claire had found her unchanged.

It was a truculent affair, this Dream of Psyche. It was not so much dancing as shadow boxing. It began mildly enough to the accompaniment of _pizzicato_ strains from the orchestra--Psyche in her training quarters. _Rallentando_--Psyche punching the bag. _Diminuendo_--Psyche using the medicine ball. _Presto_--Psyche doing road work. _Forte_--The night of the fight. And then things began to move to a climax. With the fiddles working themselves to the bone and the piano bounding under its persecutor's blows, Lady Wetherby ducked, side-stepped, rushed, and sprang, moving her arms in a manner that may have been classical Greek, but to the untrained eye looked much more like the last round of some open-air bout.